A Lightened-Up Version of Paula Deen’s Creamy Mac & Cheese

Paula Deen’s slowcooker macaroni and cheese has been one of my family’s favorite potluck and party dishes for several years.  It’s a hit with kids and adults, is so creamy and cheesy, and is ridiculously cheap and easy to prepare.

Unfortunately, it is just too high in fat and calories for me to serve anymore.

So, when we had my in-laws over a couple months ago to enjoy Hubby’s excellent pulled pork, I skinnied down the recipe by using low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, fat-free sour cream, and Egg Beaters.  Since whole wheat macaroni doesn’t lower the Points value on this large a quantity of food, I stuck with regular macaroni because the noodles turn out softer.

And you know what?  Everyone — even the kids — agreed that they actually liked this version of mac and cheese better than the original one!

Although still super creamy and cheesy, the lighter version didn’t look or taste nearly as greasy or heavy as the original recipe.  Remember that big ol’ scary greasy blob of melted butter and cheese that got added to the slowcooker?  No more.  Its lighter counterpart blog looks much more artery-friendly.

I really doubt that I’ll ever go back to the original recipe.  Once again, my family ate every last little bite, leaving no leftovers behind.  But this time, I felt much better about what I was putting into their bodies.

This is the original recipe. The lighter version (photo above) is much creamer.

Lightened Up Creamy Mac & Cheese

It’s amazing what a difference lighter substitutions make!

Creamy Mac & Cheese

The big scary greasy blob of melted butter and cheese from the original recipe.

Lightened Up Creamy Mac & Cheese

Although I cut this recipe in half the day I took the photo, you can see how much nicer the melted light margarine and light cheese look in the new version.

Lighter Paula Deen's Slow Cooker Creamy Mac & Cheese
Weight Watchers Info: 5 PointsPlus
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8-ounce box isn’t quite 2 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons light margarine (I use Brummel and Brown)
  • 2½ cups (about 10 ounces) grated reduced fat sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cups egg substitute, beaten
  • ½ cup fat free sour cream
  • 1 (10¾-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts.
  3. In a slow cooker, combine cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well. Then add drained macaroni and stir again.
  4. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.



  1. says

    Wow, what a difference the new ingredient list makes! I think the lightened up version looks MUCH more photogenic, if that means anything. :-) Make some for us, sometime?!


    • says

      Thanks. I’m not sure if the new version is more photogenic, or if it’s just a bad photo in the original version (definitely an older post, before we paid more attention to our photos). But, we did all agree the lighter version tastes better. Yep, we’ll make it sometime when we do a BBQ.

  2. Yvonne says

    I made this tonight for a side dish for my Fiancé and myself, and it was delish! However, when I went to plug this into the recipe builder on the WW website, it told me that it was 8 PP+ per serving, while yours says 5 PP+. The only thing that I changed was the sour cream (I used Daisy Light since it’s the most natural our there, and they don’t make a fat free version… and if they do, I can’t find it in my area). I’m just not sure how you got the PP+ value….

    • says

      Yvonne, I’m no longer a WW subscriber after 15+ years of being one (their plan isn’t useful anymore to my newly-diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes needs), so I can’t access my old recipe builder to see exactly how it was calculated. I believe they are now on a new points system (Smart Points?) anyways. But it’s possible that between the time (years ago) I calculated out the old Points values, and then the newer Points+ values, that WW had penalized one of these ingredients with a higher Points+ value.

      I’m planning to pull down all the old WW Points/Points+ info soon anyways (as soon as I have the time, later in summer), since WW is now on the Smart Points system and I no longer follow their program. However, when doing so, I will double check all of the nutrition macros, and make sure those are displayed for each recipe, so that WW members can plug those macros into their WW system and calculate the Smart Points.

    • says

      Paula Deen’s recipe does not specify a serving size, just how many (12). When I make it and serve it, I literally just take my serving spoon and “cut” through the finished cooked dish, dividing it into 12 equal servings, then dish myself up one of those. Next time I make it (probably Fourth of July this year), I will weigh that serving size on my food scale to get a better estimate. However you are welcome to do so as well, and if you do, please report back. Thanks.

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